Russia faces IT crisis with just two months of data storage left

data center

Russia faces a critical IT storage crisis after Western cloud providers pulled out of the country, leaving Russia with only two more months before they run out of data storage.

The Russian government is exploring various solutions to resolve this IT storage problem, ranging from leasing all available domestic data storage to seizing IT resources left behind by businesses that pulled out of the country.

These solutions were proposed during a meeting held at the Ministry of Digital Transformation, attended by representatives of Sberbank, MTS, Oxygen, Rostelecom, Atom-Data, Croc, and Yandex.

According to the Russian news outlet Kommersant, which claims to have sources confirming this proposal, the parties estimated they have roughly two months left before running out of available storage space.

Due to imposed sanctions, all Russian firms were forced to turn to domestic cloud storage service providers after Western cloud storage services cut business ties with the country.

For example, the locally-sourced storage capacity needs of Russian mobile carrier MegaFon increased fivefold, MTS tenfold, and VK had to seek 20% more storage resources in just a week.

This has created an insurmountable practical problem as there are not enough data centers in Russia to accommodate the needs of local operators; hence, a national solution for the Russian storage crisis is needed.

Kommersant further explains that the situation coincides with public Russian agencies’ storage needs growing exponentially due to “smart city” projects involving extensive video surveillance and facial recognition systems.

Steps to a solution

Last week, the Ministry of Digital Development amended the Yarovaya Law (2016) to suspend a yearly requirement for telecom operators to increase storage capacity allocations by 15% for anti-terrorist surveillance purposes.

Another move that could free up space would be to demand ISPs abandon media streaming services and other online entertainment platforms that eat up precious resources.

Thirdly, there’s the option of buying out all available storage from domestic data processing centers. However, this will likely lead to further problems for entertainment providers who need additional storage to add services and content.

Russia is also considering seizing IT servers and storage left behind by companies who pulled out of Russia and integrating them into public infrastructure.

According to local media, the ministry is currently analyzing how much resources would be made available if the government enacted such policies. A fast-track procedure will then be developed if they are enough to support critical state operations.

The final option would be to tap into Chinese cloud service providers and IT system sellers, but this is currently complicated because China has not yet decided how much it’s willing to help Russia and on which sectors.

Huawei has reportedly suspended its equipment sales to Russia until March 26, 2022. However, being itself sanctioned by the U.S. and barred from 5G roll-outs in EU countries, the Chinese tech firm may grasp the business opportunity to fill the void left by exiting western competitors.

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